As Christians we often pray for the Lord to use us to reach the lost and to bless others, but I’m afraid sometimes we can’t see the forest for the trees. Too often we think ministry is something that only occurs within the confines of a church building. Nothing could be further from reality, however. This world is full of so many practical needs. If each one of us met just one of those needs today, wouldn’t this world be a better place because of it?
My father is 77 years old, and, as many of you already know, I’m very involved with his medical care, etc. He has a friend, who is about my age, who has adopted my dad as a ministry opportunity. My dad volunteers five days a week at his church and has for the last thirty-one years. This gentleman often gives him a ride home, despite the fact that it’s entirely out of his way to do so. Last week was his first week returning to volunteer work post hospitalization in March. They went to lunch and he even offered to take him grocery shopping. Apparently, he declined as he didn’t have his shopping list with him. *Sigh*
I recently was pondering this “adoption” of sorts and, although I do not know a whole lot about this friend, I know a bit. I’ve heard him say that he grew up without a father. He’s also mentioned that his “spiritual father”, another older gentlemen, recently went to be with the Lord. And, so he has now broadened his outreach to my dad, which I greatly appreciate, especially during this season of recovery for my family! I find it interesting that sometimes our ministry “bent” is birthed out of a deep need within ourselves. While he is being a vessel of the Lord, the Lord is also using the ministry to bring healing and wholeness to him. Interesting, isn’t it? Of course, I’m sure his motive is not purely to receive. It just happens to be a by-product of God’s grace.
My father’s needs are many. He doesn’t drive, so I take him to medical appointments, pick up prescriptions, the barber and grocery shopping, etc. I wash his clothes. I help him make all sorts of decisions. My father is one in a sea of the older generation. So many needs just to carry on with everyday life. There are millions just like my father who could use help on a daily basis or even just a listening ear. Most of the telephone conversations my dad and I share are close to an hour long. He usually has a lot to say since our last chat. He has to tell me what’s going on at the church, although lately he’s been most concerned about our family’s health. So, he’s asked everyone he comes in contact with to pray for us, which is very thoughtful and kind. He has so many churches praying for us and I know God is answering!
My dad lives alone and I’m a large slice of his world, I realize. Sometimes this part of his world gets tired and my ears get droopy, but it’s then I realize one day, I’ll wish I could hear him drone on one more time. I’ll long for our lengthy conversations about this and that, long to take him grocery shopping one more time as he slowly and carefully selects chocolate chip cookies or frozen dinners. Life is made up of all the little things … little, monotonous, trite details that can easily distract us from the larger picture. We are here for a purpose and that purpose is to be a blessing in whatever situation, vocation and location the Lord places us in.
Perhaps there is someone in your world who is in need. None of us need look very far …
“Oh, to be His hands extended, reaching out to the oppressed. Let me touch Him; let me touch Jesus; that others may know and be blessed.”